Iâ€™ve updated from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview over this weekend, on my Surface Pro 3 and a Lenovo tablet. Both machines are used for software development as well as playing games, so seemed the ideal place to practice.
So hereâ€™s some initial impressions:
Iâ€™ve mentioned before (ranted, perhaps) about how the VPN support in Windows 8.1 is great for desktop apps, but broken for Metro / Modern / Immersive / Windows Store apps.
Still, maybe now Iâ€™m able to provide feedback, and Windows is in a beta test phase, perhaps theyâ€™ll pay attention and fix the bugs.
Itâ€™s a beta, but just in case you were persuaded to install this on a production system, itâ€™s still not release quality.
Every so often, the Edge browser (currently calling itself â€śProject Spartanâ€ť) will just die on you.
Iâ€™ve managed to get the â€śPeople Hubâ€ť to start exactly twice without crashing immediately.
Download the most recent version from the Insiderâ€™s page, and you still have to apply an update to the entire system before youâ€™re actually up to date. The update takes essentially as long as the initial install.
Hey, itâ€™s a beta â€“ what did you expect?
Things will break, youâ€™ll find yourself missing functionality, so you may need to restore to your original state. Update before you install, and fewer things will be as likely to go wrong in the upgrade.
They wonâ€™t fix things you donâ€™t provide feedback about.
OK, so maybe they also wonâ€™t fix things that you DO provide feedback on, but thatâ€™s how life works. Not everything gets fixed. Ever.
But if you donâ€™t report issues, you wonâ€™t ever see them fixed.
The People â€śHubâ€ť in Windows 10, from the couple of times Iâ€™ve managed to execute it, basically has my contacts, and can display whatâ€™s new from them in Outlook Mail.
I rather enjoy the Windows 8.1 People Hub, where you can see in one place the most recent interactions in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype. Or at least, thatâ€™s what it promises, even if it only actually delivers Facebook and Twitter.
Itâ€™s always possible to delete a video file, of course, but in Windows 8.1, after youâ€™ve finished watching a video from the Videos app, you had to go find some other tool in which to do so â€“ and hope that you deleted the right one.
In Windows 10 you can use the context menu (right click, or tap and hold) on a video to delete it from your store.
Still needs some more work â€“ it doesnâ€™t display subtitles / closed-captioning, it only orders alphabetically, and thereâ€™s no jumping to the letter â€śQâ€ť by pressing the â€śQâ€ť key, but this app is already looking very functional even for those of us who collect MP4 files to watch.
I really, really liked the Media Center. More than TiVo. We have several Media Center PCs in our house, and now we have to figure out what weâ€™re going to do. Iâ€™m not going back to having a made-for-purpose device that canâ€™t do computing, I want my Media Center. Iâ€™ll try some of its competitors, but itâ€™d be really nice if Microsoft relents and puts support back for Media Center.
Excellent HTML5 compatibility, reduced chance of being hit by third party vulnerabilities, F12 Developer Tools, and still allows me to test for XSS vulnerabilities if I choose to do so.
Pretty much what I want in a browser, although from a security standpoint, the choice to allow two third party
vulnerabilities add-ins into the browser, Flash and Reader, seems to be begging future trouble.
Having said that, you can disable Adobe Flash in the Advanced Settings of your Spartan browser. Iâ€™m going to recommend that you do that on all your non-gaming machines. Then find out which of your web sites need it, and either fix them, or decide whether you can balance the threat of Flash with the utility of that service.
The F12 Developer Tools continue to be a very useful set of web site debugging tools, and assist me greatly in discovering and expanding on web site vulnerabilities. I personally find them easier than debugging tools in other browsers, and they have the benefit of being always installed in recent Microsoft browsers.
The â€śReaderâ€ť view is a nice feature, although it was present in Windows 8.1, and should be used any time you want to actually read the contents of a story, rather than wade through adverts and constant resizing of other content around the text youâ€™re actually interested in.
Because, you know, Iâ€™m all about the XSS.
Internet Explorer has a pretty assertive XSS filter built in, and even when you turn it off in your settings, it still comes back to prevent you. I find this to be tricky, because I sometimes need to convince developers of the vulnerabilities in their apps. Firefox is often helpful here, because it has NO filters, but sometimes the behaviour Iâ€™m trying to show is specific to Internet Explorer.
Particularly, if I type a quote character into the URL in Internet Explorer, it sends a quote character. Firefox will send a %22 or %27 (double or single quotes). So, sometimes IE will trigger behaviour that Firefox doesnâ€™t.
Sadly, although Spartan does seem to still be useful for XSS testing, the XSS filter canâ€™t be specifically turned off in settings. Iâ€™d love to see if I can find a secret setting for this.
Windows has needed a PDF printer since, oh, Windows 3.1. A print driver that prompts you for a file name, and saves whatever youâ€™re printing as a PDF file.
With Office, this kind of existed with Save as PDF. With OneNote, you could Print to OneNote, open the View ribbon, and hide the header, before exporting as a PDF. But thatâ€™s the long way around.
With Windows 10, Microsoft installed a new printer driver, â€śMicrosoft Print to PDFâ€ť. It does what it says on the tin, allowing you to generate PDFs from anywhere that can print.
I use a Surface Pro 3 as my main system, and I have to say that the reversion to a mainly desktop model of operations is nice to my eyes, but a little confusing to the hands â€“ I donâ€™t quite know how to manage things any more.
Sometimes I like to work without the keyboard, because the tablet works well that way. But now I canâ€™t close apps by sliding from top to bottom, even when Iâ€™ve expanded them to full screen. Not sure how Iâ€™m supposed to do this.